(Photos: Bill Griesar)
Just got a wonderful email from Kiel “Bike Train” Johnson with a photo essay from Sabin K-8 School parent Bill Griesar. Bill was named Bike Train Conductor of the Year last year and the bike train he led this morning (in the rain no less) swelled to 102 people by the time it reached the northeast Portland school.
Bill emailed Kiel a photo essay to share this morning’s bike train and I thought you’d like to see it too (text and photos below are by Bill Griesar)…
OK, so it started small…
Portland’s grassroots movement to get kids and families to hop aboard school “bike trains” continues to grow. Last night 15 schools were represented at the second annual Bike Train Meet Up. That’s quite a jump from the four schools that were a part of a similar gathering last year.
The growth in bike trains is music to the ears of Kiel Johnson, the 24-year-old who has spearheaded the movement in Portland. Last night Johnson told the crowd of over 30 moms, dads, kids, teachers and other interested folks, that he was inspired to get more kids riding to school after seeing a video of a typical ride to a school in the Netherlands.
strong bike train at Beach School
– Watch video below-
What happens when you combine a City that prioritizes neighborhood bikeways, parents that are passionate about biking to school, and school administrators that not only encourage — but participate in it?
You get a bike train that stretches four blocks long and numbers about 150 people. That’s what happened at Beach School this morning. Check out the amazing video below (taken by Beach parent Suzanne Clarke):
(Photos © J. Maus)
Few things excite me more than being able to introduce a new activism effort and then see it take off. A few weeks ago, we shared the news that 24 year-old Portlander Kiel Johnson (pronounced “Kyle”) was coordinating a conference on bike trains. (Bike trains are simply group rides where parents and kids meet up and ride into school together.)
Kiel, fresh off an internship with the City of Portland’s Safe Routes to Schools program, is passionate about how bike trains can encourage more people to bike to school. I’m happy to report several exciting updates on his efforts…
Remember back in May when I happened upon the Beach Elementary School bike train? Now, a former volunteer intern with the City of Portland’s Safe Routes to Schools program is organizing the first-ever Portland Bike Train Conference.
Recent college grad Kiel Johnson says he helped get the Beach School bike train going last year and it was “really successful” so he wants to bring the idea to other schools. The Beach bike train averaged about 10-20 riders per week. On one morning back in May, over 100 kids and parents rolled into school together, cementing Beach’s reputation as a school where biking is taken seriously.
(Photos © J. Maus)
This morning on my way to the office, a sign at the corner of North Michigan and Alberta caught my eye; it read “Beach Bike Train meet up spot – 8:30 – Join Us.” It was about 8:25, so I decided to wait around and see if anyone showed up.
A few minutes later I saw a line of kids and parents pedaling toward the spot. One of them was Laurie Paulsen, a Beach parent who I’d met last summer at a nearby farmer’s market.
As kids (and kid-like parents) zoomed in circles around a parking lot waiting for others to show up, I chatted with her for a minute.